Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scaffolded Silent Reading?

A comment on Reutzel, Jones, Fawson and Smith (2008): Scaffolded Silent Reading is just as good as Guided Repeated Oral Reading: OR just as bad.
Stephen Krashen

Reutzel et. al. is a comparison between a method labeled Scaffolded Silent Reading (ScSR) and Guided Repeated Oral Reading (GROR) done over one year using third graders.

In ScSR, children are required to set specific goals as to how much and what they will read, and are required to read in a variety of genres. In brief conferences with teachers, students are questioned about what they read, and choose a "book response project" to do related to the book they have just read. Students are also taught "book selection strategies" to avoid their selecting "inappropriate difficult books for reading practice" (p. 196).

In GROR, the students hear a passage read aloud, then reread it several times quietly and then aloud. Students are usually given feedback on their reading from the teacher. Reutzel et. al. do not provide details about how GROR was done in this study.

There were no significant differences between the groups of measures of accuracy in reading aloud, rate of reading aloud, "expression," and oral retelling of passages children read aloud. (Actual means and statistics are not presented, only graphs and percentages.) The authors conclude that this shows that ScSR is a "viable, complementary, and motivating approach that is comparable to … GROR" (p. 205).

In other words, ScSR is just as good as GROR. It could also be said that it is just as bad. No comparison group was used that did neither treatment. Also, the results do not indicate how ScSR compares to sustained silent reading (SSR), which is very different, as Reutzel et. al. note. In contrast to ScSR, SSR includes low or no accountability, allows free choice, and does not require follow-up projects. Also, SSR does not constrain students to read certain genres, but encourages "narrow reading" (Krashen, 2004).

Krashen, S. 2004. The case for narrow reading. Language Magazine 3(5): 16-20.
Reutzel, R., Jones, C., Fawson, P., and Smith, J. 2008. Scaffolded silent reading: A complement to guided repeated oral reading that works! The Reading Teacher 62 (3): 194-207.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let's read. Let's move. Let's support libraries.

Let's Read. Let's Move. Let's Support Public Libraries

Sent to the Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2010
As part of a program called "Let's read. Let's Move," First Lady Michelle Obama is calling for children to read five books over the summer to prevent summer reading loss: Some children lose about two months of reading progress over the summer ("Michelle Obama's next childhood obesity target: summer break," June 8). But it makes no sense to require or encourage reading when there is little access to books.
The children who show reading loss over the summer are children of poverty. Research shows that children of poverty have little access to books at home, at school and in their communities. Public libraries in high-poverty areas are not well-funded, and have fewer materials and are open fewer hours than those in low-poverty areas. Studies also show that when children have access to interesting and comprehensible reading material, the children really do read.
The first step in dealing with the summer slump is the most obvious: Better funding of public libraries, especially in high-poverty areas, and more support for librarians who understand what children really like to read.
Stephen Krashen

California ELL report

Reparable Harm: Fulfilling the Unkept Promise of Educational Opportunity for Long Term English Learners
This foundation report examines factors in the increase in long-term English learners in California, student characteristics, and current limitations. Recommendations include specialized courses, clustered placement in grade-level classes, and monitoring and support systems.

Olsen, Laurie (2010). Reparable Harm: Fulfilling the Unkept Promise of Educational Opportunity for Long Term English Learners. Long Beach: California Community Foundation.